Sonics win season opener


The Sonics’ Raven Francisco, right, drives and draws a foul on Ol’Aces Extreme’s Leo Naraja, while the latter’s teammate, Francisco Mizutani, stays close in the play during the second half of their boys U15 division game in the opening of the Diaz youth caging last Monday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The Sonics played steadier in the homestretch to slip past the Ol’Aces Extreme, 39-34, during the opening game in the 2018 Frank M. Diaz Memorial Youth League last Monday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Raven Francisco knocked in important charities in the closing minutes of their boys U15 division game to hand the Sonics a win in their season debut. Francisco went 4-for-4 from the stripe with his first two charities under the two-minute mark giving the Sonics more breathing room.

Before Francisco’s free throw shots, the Ol’Aces Extreme moved within one, 32-33, after drawing back-to-back baskets from Steve King. The Ol’Aces Extreme then had a chance to grab the lead, but made a couple of misses, while Francisco took matters into his own hands, faked off two defenders, and was fouled.

The Sonics guard had no problems making the two pressure-packed free throws to give the Sonics a 3-point lead, 35-32.

The Ol’Aces Extreme then attempted many times to buy a basket, but again faltered. In that possession, the Ol’Aces muffed at least six shots and when the Sonics finally got the rebound, Francisco drove strong to the basket anew and drew the contact. He added two more free throws and countered with a layup after Jess Laniyo drilled the Ol’Aces Extreme’s last basket to peg the final score.

Francisco was one of the two double-figure scorers for the Sonics, as he finished with 10 points. He registered the Sonics’ first two field goals. Tony Kim top-scored for the winning team with 15, while John Caruana added 8, including back-to-back treys in the first half that ended in standoff, 19-19.

King led the Ol’Aces Extreme’s losing cause after firing 14 markers.

Meanwhile, the Ol’Aces avoided a 0-2 performance in the opening day as their U18 crew defeated the Rollers 1 in the second game, 56-42.

Coby Santos towed the Ol’Aces to their debut win after sizzling for 24 points. N-Nes Siech backed him up, adding 16, while Dean Blake chipped in 9.

Matthew Richardson had 12 to pace the Rollers 1, which was outplayed at the guard position, with Santos and Siech joining forces and hitting successive baskets.

Besides the Ol’Aces and Sonics, 11 other teams are entered in the boys U18 division. The Sonics have three squads, while Rollers Basketball Club and the Warriors have two apiece. Completing the field are Ol’Ace Extreme and Ol’Aces Elite, Kagman Sparks, Tinian, and Chinatown Titans.

In the boys U15 division, the Sonics and Rollers are fielding two teams each and will be joined by Ol’Aces Elite, Young Warriors, and Tinian in the hunt for the championship.

First Game
Sonics 39 — Kim 11, Francisco 10, Caruana 8, Galang 6, Rizo 2, Bartolo 2, Puri 2.
Ol’Aces Extreme 34 — King 14, Deleon Guerrero 7, Laniyo 4, Mizutani 4, They 3, Soriano 2.
Scoring by halves: 19-19, 39-34.

Second Game
Ol’Aces 56 — Santos 24, Siech 16, Blake 9, Abejo 4, Fred 2.
Rollers 1 42 — Richardson 12, Ogumoro 6, Duenas 6, Quitugua 5, Factor 4, Hudkins 3, Cruz 2, Tenorio 2.
Scoring by halves: 36-24, 56-42.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.